Author Topic: Popcorn ceiling  (Read 6112 times)


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Popcorn ceiling
« on: March 04, 2006, 07:45:45 PM »
First, thanks for the great board!  My situation is that I am in a condo and noise from my upstairs neighbor is somewhat annoying.  It's at the level where I could probably hear, but not understand a loud conversation.  I hear walking sounds quite a lot.  I don't need absolute silence, but to cut down the level a bit would really help.

I've read the link at - which is great innformation, but to be honest, is a bit of overload and leaves me even more confused about which option to go with!

My ceiling is currently a "popcorn" ceiling sprayed on top of plaster.  I was planning to scrape off this out-of-date stuff, but it occured to me that it might actually serve some sort of purpose if i put a sheetrock or absorbing material over the top of it and possibly take advantage of it's spongy nature.  Is this a ridiculous idea?

I would *really* rather not remove the plaster and lath from the ceiling, so I am hoping for a solution where I can add over the top of it.  The ceilings are fairly high and losing an inch or two would be acceptible.

It seems that one option is to put resilient channel using the RSIC-2 fasteners and then attach some type of material (sheetrock?) to those.  In the experts opinion, would this do much?

Another post I read is that people use green glue to attach additional sheetrock on top of an existing layer.

I am open to any creative suggestions!


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Re: Popcorn ceiling
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2006, 06:19:29 AM »
Walking sounds have to be treated differently than talking sounds.

See  for your options regarding this!

BJ nash

Super Soundproofing Co


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Re: Popcorn ceiling
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2006, 05:20:13 AM »
Sorry to tell you this, but I don't think you're going to accomplish much without some demolition. Resilient channel is not designed to be fastened to a flat panel surface like drywall/plaster.  It is designed to be screwed into a narrow floor joist to achieve decoupling.  The way you're thinking of doing it is a waste of time and money.  Green Glue won't work on your ceiling either.  It is meant to go in between two flat sheets of drywall to be effective.
If you scraped the texture off, you could use it and throw a 5/8" piece of drywall up there to double the thickness.  That would improve things a little bit, but I don't think it would last.  The plaster would eventually crack and probably not act as a single, homogenous panel, like a sheet of drywall will.  In fact, I don't think the audioalloy people had lath and plaster in mind when formulating their product - you may want to check on that first.  
If you are serious, here is what you need to do:  first, tear the sucker off.  Then, get a couple tubes of silicone caulk and seal up any apparent holes/gaps through the floor.  If they have the old-style plank flooring, you will have a lot of sealing to do...  Fill the joist cavities with insulation (R-30 fiberglass), install resilient channel (or, better yet, the sound clips and channel sold on - they cost more but give you much better performance) perpendicular to the joists, Install 2 layers of drywall on the channels, seal up the edges of the ceiling with flexible caulk, mud & tape the joints, texture & paint.  Also, if possible, surface-mount any light fixtures and not cut big holes in the drywall for deep electrical boxes- that will transmit noise.  If you want, you could staple a layer of Mass-Loaded Vinyl to the ceiling joists before you start installing channels and use Green Glue between the sheets of ceiling drywall to give better soundproofing.
There is no magic bandaid for your problem; anything you rigidly attach to the existing ceiling can vibrate just as well   and send the noise right down to you.  Even constructing a 'false' ceiling 6-8 below the existing ceiling wouldn't be too good either the existing lath & plaster would degrade the performance a lot.  Start from scratch and do it right.


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Re: Popcorn ceiling
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2006, 04:20:36 AM »
much thanks for the advice.  i was thinking about doing that, but i was afraid to take down the plaster, which is quite thick and replace it with drywall - it seems like the noise would be louder, but i guess that is not really the case at all.

do you guys think that the regular fiberglass insulation is better than the spray-foam that expands and then you trim off the excess?

thanks, it is a big endeavor, but we may go for it soon - i will try to post my story, which hopefully will not go in the "jobs gone bad" section!


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Re: Popcorn ceiling
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2006, 11:29:56 PM »

You're right, in a way, the thick, heavy plaster is good at blocking sound, but it's rigidly attached to the floor joists and there's little attenuation in the vibration transmitted from above.  Also, when it cracks it becomes more and more useless at blocking noise.

The drywall has less mass and less sound blocking, but it stays intact and you can mount the panels resiliently.  That's what kills the most noise.  

As for the insulation, Icynene (the spray-in stuff that you trim off) will do the same thing as fiberglass, since it's an open-cell foam but it costs 3 times as much and many contractors won't do a small job with Icynene - it's too much trouble for too little profit.  Fiberglass you can do yourself.  And since it's not a thermal application, it doesn't have to be a perfect installation either.  As long as at least 3/4 of the cavity is filled, you'll get good cavity absorption and kill the resonance.  

If you decide to do the job and run into trouble, send me an e-mail, preferably with a couple digital pics of what you're dealing with and I can give you more tips.